A second Dietzen is set to join the Wisconsin Badgers starting in 2018, and head coach Paul Chryst and his staff reeled in an intriguing prospect.
Kimberly, Wis. defensive end/tight end Boyd Dietzen committed to Wisconsin last Monday, choosing the Badgers over the likes of Minnesota, Syracuse, Iowa State and Northern Illinois. He was the second of three in-state products to verbally pledge to Chryst and the Badgers that day, along with linebackers C.J. Goetz and Mason Platter.
The cousin of current UW starting left guard Jon Dietzen, Boyd has made his living primarily on the defensive side of the ball for the Papermakers in 2016 as one of their starting ends in a 3-4 scheme. His quickness into the backfield, relentlessness and pursuit are apparent in his two 2016 Hudl highlights (one regular season, one post season). For as much a force he was in that regard, future Badger also presents an intriguing look offensively in both his blocking and receiving skill set.
Defensively, Dietzen’s ability to get to the quarterback or rusher quickly instantly pops out in his Hudl highlights. Kimberly head coach Steve Jones, who has guided the Papermakers to 56 consecutive wins—best in nation—and four consecutive WIAA state titles (three straight in Division I), mentioned how disruptive he was in the offensive backfield, pairing with future North Dakota State Bison Logan McCormack on the line.
“I think Boyd did a great job exploiting any one-on-ones that he got on a Friday night. He plays very well with his hands, and he’s extremely explosive,” Jones said. “He’s got great hips. You see that on the football field. You can see it in the weight room. You can see it be a thrower. He’s one of the top throwers in the state. As a sophomore, I think he threw about 60 feet, so that shows some explosiveness as well.”
Whether or not he beats the offensive lineman right off the bat, or works off the initial block to pursue his target, his motor doesn’t stop until the play is dead. When he gets to his target, especially against opposing quarterbacks, the end result normally resulted in a stiff hit to the ground.
“He’s relentless, you know what I mean,” Jones said, who also acknowledged Dietzen’s good pad level and athleticism. “Some of those plays he had in the backfield were in large part because of his hustle, and he never gave up on a play.”
For what he did on the field on the defensive side of the ball, Dietzen showed glimpses of potential at tight end as well. The three-star recruit per 247 Sports, Rivals and Scout caught a touchdown pass in the WIAA Division I state championship against Franklin, but his film shows a player that can get to the second level of the defense.
Jones said Dietzen was utilized in a limited role offensively, as Kimberly is a two-platoon system, “but when we have studs we’re going to find spots to get him on the field, especially in big games.”
According to the head coach, the same physicality Dietzen brought to the defensive end position was evident on the opposite side of the line of scrimmage.
“You could see that right away when we tried him out at tight end, that his physicality is amazing,” Jones said. “Again, there’s a lot of correlations. Offensively, he did a great job of bringing his hands and his hips. Then he has great feet.
“Another thing with Boyd is that he’s an extremely coachable young man. He’s a sponge. He gives you great eye contact, great non-verbals. He really tries to take what you’re telling him and apply it. He’ll continue to practice his craft until he gets it right. He didn’t get a whole lot of time at tight end in practice because his primary focus was on defense, so he’d get 10-20 minutes a week, but he’d always be willing to spend time after practice and work on some individual stuff. It’s a credit to him and his learning and his willingness to put in extra effort as well.”
Jones, who was named one of the finalists for the Don Shula High School Coach of the Year award this past season, sees Dietzen playing at defensive end and tight end once again for Kimberly. The in-state powerhouse attempts to continue its historic winning streak and looking for its fifth consecutive state title in 2017.
At the next level in Madison, the 6’3, 234-pound athlete—who also played hockey and is an all-state honoree in shot for track and field by the WTCA—could find a home at a few positions with the Badgers.
“I really think he could play defensive end,” Jones said. “I think he could play maybe an outside linebacker and obviously a tight end or H-back as the Badgers kind of move around those tight ends. I think he’d be a great fit there as well. I think the sky’s the limit for him and his potential, and a lot of that is due, again, to his work ethic and his coachability.”